Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Bridging the Gap: NJ & PA Delaware Water Gap

The great state of New Jersey is oftentimes misunderstood and misrepresented, both in the media and by the public’s account. Too often the Garden State is associated with crowded freeways, oil refineries, and Northeasterners with the “in your face” mentality that is off-putting to some, but homey to us locals. It is also too often that the state’s natural side is casted into the shadows, rarely seen by many at all. Such is the case with the Delaware Water Gap, a gorge between Pennsylvania and New Jersey that was carved by the historic Delaware River.

Millions of years ago, the land in the area was relatively flat without many disturbances in the terrain. Over the course of time, erosion and gradual uplift created many of the ridges and valleys that are present today. Additionally, the Delaware River carved its way through these some of these formations, in this case the Kittatinny Mountain, which in turn created the Delaware Water Gap. The gradual uplift coupled with the timely erosion generated some of the most impressive geology and strata in the United States’ Northeast region.

The Lenni-Lenapes (Delaware Indians) were believed to be some of the first people to arrive at the Delaware Water Gap roughly 12,000 years ago until European settlers showed up in 1614 and pushed many of them out. Since then, and largely because of the area’s close proximity to New York City, the Pocono Mountains, and the Atlantic Ocean, the area has served as a popular vacation spot for people from all over the US. It also serves as a threshold for the border of New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Driving through the valley, it is impossible to be unimpressed by the towering cliffs and underlying Delaware River. For us New Jerseyans, it represents just one of our state’s beautiful and underappreciated natural landscapes that outsiders are quick to forget. And although much of the state is in fact covered by crowded highways and neighboring factories, New Jersey is also full of natural beauty that is waiting to be rediscovered.

Photo Credit:
Nicholas A. Tonelli

1. http://www.nature.nps.gov/geology/parks/dewa/
2. ftp://rock.geosociety.org/pub/reposit/2010/2010097.pdf
3. http://delawarewatergap.org/HISTORY.html
4. http://www.dutotmuseum.com/history.htm
5. http://people.hofstra.edu/charles_merguerian/Publications/PubsPdf/OTR17_DelawareWaterGap_sm.pdf

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